Students from Sunnyside’s PS 199 spent their Monday morning in Lance Cpl. Thomas P. Noonan Jr. Playground drawing and writing on colored pieces of paper their ideas of what they would want to see in a planned renovation of the park.
“It’s so important to ask kids what they would like to see happen,” said City Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-Sunnyside).
Van Bramer, who has allocated $600,000 in capital funding to give the playground, on Greenpoint Avenue and 32nd Street in Sunnyside, a makeover, said he has decided to ask the community for suggestions on how that money can best be used, starting with the students at PS 199.
The councilman said he got the idea from a girl who asked about the park when he visited the school for Career Day.
“That was very powerful for me,” Van Bramer said.
Principal Anthony Inzerillo said Van Bramer had reached out to him and requested that PS 199’s students think about and suggest what they wanted to see in the park as the first part of a greater outreach to the community.
“Most of the boys and girls here play in the park, and they play in the park on a regular basis,” Inzerillo said.
PS 199, at 39-20 48th Ave., is about three blocks away from the playground.
Weeks later, about 80 second-, third- and fourth-grade students showed off their ideas at a news conference with the councilman and members of the Woodside-based United Forties Civic Association.
Some ideas the students had included are more playground equipment such as additional swings and monkey bars, seesaws, a rock climbing wall and a garden. Others wanted the rainbow-shaped sprinkler, which gives the playground its nickname of “Rainbow Park,” to be expanded. Students also recommended tributes to Noonan, who died in 1969 during the Vietnam War while trying to bring an extremely wounded soldier to safety.
“These ideas are amazing,” Van Bramer said.
While the PS 199 students began the process of bringing community input to the park, it was by no means over. Van Bramer said drop-off suggestion boxes will be placed at his district office, at 47-01 Queens Blvd., Suite 205, in Sunnyside and the Sunnyside Library across the street from the park, at 43-06 Greenpoint Ave., until the end of the month. All the suggestions will be delivered to the city Parks Department, Van Bramer said.
Carol Burch, second vice president of United Forties, said it was good to have some money allocated to make changes to the park, which she said has not been renovated for a while.
The Parks Department’s website said Noonan Playground’s last renovation was in 2000.
“It’s a constantly used park by every generation,” said Ann Marie Carroll, correspondent secretary for United Forties.
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cn
©2011 Community News Group
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